Flood waters rise, 8 killed as Florence dumps 'epic' rain on Carolinas

Jo Lloyd
September 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour (155 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend. Despite its unpredictable path, it was forecast to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday on Friday.

In Morehead City, the rain and surf pounded the shoreline and took aim at the few boats still in the water.

"We already bought candles, batteries, can food items, water and so on". By comparison, Washington, D.C., gets an average of 40 inches of rain per year.

Computer simulations - especially the often star-performing European model - push the storm further south, even into SC and Georgia.

The Outer Banks will see Tropical-Storm-Force winds today, with winds gradually picking up speed in coastal Virginia. "We go through a lot of these hurricane scares throughout the years", Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

"We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now", said Linda Smith, 67, a retired non-profit director.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence, a large and risky Category 2 storm and one of 9 deadly storms circling the globe, landed on the North Carolina coast Thursday morning (local time).

The center of Florence is expected to approach the coasts of North and SC later on Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. This could cause catastrophic flooding and prolonged significant river flooding. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 miles per hour (9 kph). The actual landfall - when the center of the eye reaches land - will be Friday afternoon at the earliest, said Neil Jacobs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hurricane Florence lashes Carolinas with heavy rain floods
The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern North Carolina on Thursday

Conditions will deteriorate through Thursday (local time): Starting along the coast, winds will accelerate, the rain will intensify, and the ocean will surge ashore. "There is overwash but nothing we are not used to", she said.

"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference. This is bigger than both of the Carolinas and THIS is why rain is the biggest issue. The utility room of John Hembree and Scot Perkins' Chesapeake home has become a refuge for their neighbor's birds as well as their own chickens, three dogs, turtle and cat.

Four linemen from Naperville are among thousands of workers across the country being mobilized to restore electric service once it's known what damage Hurricane Florence causes in the Carolinas.

All four major United States airlines have said they are capping selected airfares below what last-minute tickets would cost. The more the Great Lakes one wins, the more southerly Florence will be. The director of athletics at the University of Tennessee has announced that displaced families are welcome to come to its game on Saturday against the University of Texas at El Paso, free of charge.

"This means more people, structures and land will be subject to the unsafe winds", Miller said.

Jasper Newborn, who runs the city's only emergency homeless shelter, said that on any given night, he'll house about 15 people, but that "represents less than 10 percent of the city's homeless population".

When staffers realized a nearby Bojangles would stay open, NBC's Matt Bradley says, they opened back up.

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